Humpback Bridge - Virginia's Oldest Covered Bridge

Humpback BridgeThe venerable Humpback Bridge lays claim to being the oldest of Virginia's remaining covered bridges. Located in Alleghany County, just west of Covington, it was built in 1857.

It was part of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike and succeeds three other bridges at the site. It stretches over Dunlap Creek, a tributary of the Jackson River that joins the Cowpasture River near Iron Gate to form the James River.

The first structure was built in the 1820s and was washed away by a flood on May 12, 1837. The second fellvictim to the flood of July 13, 1842.

The third, as the annual report of the turnpike company put it, "gave way" in 1856.

The 100-foot-long, single-span structure is four feet higher at its center than it is at either end, thus the name, "Humpback". Traffic across the bridge ceased in 1929 when it was replaced with a "modern" steel truss bridge.

Restoration

The bridge stood derelict -- and was even used by a nearby farmer to store hay -- until the 1950s. The Business and Professional Women's Club of Covington and the Covington Chamber of Commerce raised funds to have the bridge restored and preserved as part of Alleghany County's history.  Humpback Bridge was reopened to the public in 1954 as the centerpiece of an attractive wayside. In the summer of 2013, the Humpback Bridge underwent additional restorations using funds from the National Historic Covered Bridge Program.

 

Take a Road Trip

Humpback Bridge can be reached from Interstate 64 by taking exit 10 to Route 60 and traveling one-half mile east, or by taking Route 60 west from Covington.

Visit Virginia's Other Covered Bridges

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Page last modified: Dec. 10, 2013